Saturday, May 14, 2011
Mine Removal Going Slowly
Defense officials estimate it will take another eight years to remove thousands of land mines that remain near Chile's border with Peru and Bolivia. The arduous task has already been going on for years, ever since Chile signed on the 1997 Ottawa Treaty on eliminating all land mines. Defense Secretary Andrés Allamand said he expect the mine clearing to take eight more years. He acknowledged the task began slowly but added that it has accelerated in the past five years. Last month, the president of the Chilean Senate said 100,000 antipersonnel mines and 150,000 antitank mines remain buried in the desert, plus some unexploded munitions.The mines were planted in northern border area and the far south of Chile in the late 1970s, when Peru and Argentina threatened war. About 150 people have died after stepping on Chilean mines.